HEC Legacy Award

Purpose of Award

In 1984, the Hispanic Education Conference began as a dream of several members of the Modesto Hispanic Leadership Council and the Dean of Counseling, Mr. Juan Alvarez.  Today, the Hispanic Education Conference is the largest youth conference in the central valley with participants from all over Stanislaus County and surrounding areas. The purpose of the Hispanic Education Legacy Award is to recognize individuals or organization whose body of work and passion for serving as a part of the conference team has ignited a flame in students and kept the conference a great success.

Criteria for Award

  • Nominees must have a minimum of five years of service with the Hispanic Education Conference.  
  • Nominees may be MJC employees, alumni, or community members.
  • Nominees have made an above-and-beyond commitment to the Hispanic Education Conference.
  • Any member of the committee may nominate someone.
  • Nominees with the most votes by the committee will be selected.  In the case of a tie, a runoff vote between the top two candidates will take place.  If there is still a tie, the Associate Dean of Student Services shall cast a vote.
  • The winner will be presented with the Legacy Award as part of the Welcome at the Hispanic Education Conference.
  • In the case of a recipient refusing the award, the runner-up will become the recipient.


2018-Leticia Cavazos-MJC Transfer Center Counselor/Coordinator, Claudia Ramirez-MJC TRiO Counselor/Coordinator


Leticia Cavazos

Leticia began her career in the Health Services Department at MJC in 1979 after receiving her AA in legal studies from Modesto Junior College.  From the Health Services Department, she transitioned into the Career Center in 1989 and received her B.S. Degree in Organizational Leadership from The University of San Francisco.  After receiving her M.A. Degree in Counseling from Chapman University, Leticia was then hired as the Counselor/Transfer Coordinator of Modesto Junior College. Leticia has been employed at MJC for a total of 38 years. During that time she has been a major contributor to the long lasting success of the Hispanic Education Conference.

When asked her advice for students Leticia stated
"Dare to follow your dreams and do what you love.  Go to college, become involved, find a mentor whom you like and trust.  Making connections on campus will be vital to your success.  Do not allow obstacles to distract you from your goals.  Success comes to those who continue and never give up; because it does not matter how many times you fall, but how many times you get up and continue.  Do not wait for opportunities to come knocking at your door.  You knock on doors to make opportunities happen. You are the driver of your destiny and your success is in your hands.  Believe in yourself and your ability to do great things.  Always remember, you are not alone on your journey, we are here to support, encourage and motivate you.  “Si se Puede.” 


Claudia Ramirez

It takes a special person to step into the shoes of an iconic person. Claudia Ramirez was that person.  When Hispanic Education Conference founder and chair Juan Alvarez retired in 2004 he handed the reins over to Claudia.  Claudia chaired the conference for the next thirteen years. Claudia is a humble and well-respected leader who has worked in several capacities at MJC including MESA, Financial Aid, Career Development & Transfer Center, Counseling, and EOPS.  Today she serves students as the TRIO Student Support Services Counselor/Coordinator.

When asked to share some advice for student Claudia stated:

“No matter the challenge, keep going! Your hard work and dedication will be compensated”
Levantate, suspira, sonrie y sigue adelante. Si luchas por lo que quieres, tarde o temprano llegara!